How or why does the wax of a candle catch on fire?

Jump to Last Post 1-3 of 3 discussions (5 posts)
  1. Candle Reviews profile image70
    Candle Reviewsposted 3 years ago

    How or why does the wax of a candle catch on fire?

    I had a very scary experience a few days ago.  The two wick candle I was burning literally caught fire.  All the wax int he candle was on fire, and huge leaping flames were coming out of the top.  My house could have burned down.  I was pretty upset.  We had to put it out with a fire extinguisher, and I just got done spending over an hour cleaning up the charred shards of glass and wax everywhere in my bathroom.  It was awful, and almost makes me nervous to trust candles.  I did nothing wrong, and in fact trimmed the wicks down to almost nothing before lighting.  Very scary and unsettling.

  2. profile image0
    Joshtheplumberposted 3 years ago

    I thought this would be a question about the physics involved, but it sounds more like you had a defective candle. Strictly speaking, solids and liquids do not burn- only gases. The heat of the flame liquifies the wax and it is drawn up into the wick through capillary action before evaporating and burning from a gaseous state. For what you described to have happened, the surface of the wax must have somehow gotten hot enough to combust. Since you trimmed the wicks, my best guess is that there was something other than wax in the mixture that was too flammable or in too high of a concentration.

    Best to report this to the manufacturer.

    1. Candle Reviews profile image70
      Candle Reviewsposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I think you might be right Joshua.  It was pretty scary and its of concern because others might not burn candles as safely as I try to do.  Some burn them and fall asleep or near curtains or on a bookshelf, etc.  Thanks so much the info and answer.

  3. eugbug profile image98
    eugbugposted 3 years ago

    I thought this was a physics question also. As Joshua notes, solids and liquids don't burn. They have to become volatile first and become gas or vapor, which mixes with oxygen in the air for combustion to occur. When you light the wick of a candle, solid wax impregnated in the wick from the last time it was lighting melts, vaporises and burns. The heat of combustion melts wax from underneath the burn point and capillary action results in a steady stream of molten wax soaking upwards.
    Its possible the two wicks were oversized and the candle went into a "runaway" state with enough heat to melt the wax at the top. Alternatively if the candle was a scented type, possibly volatile compounds containing the scent e.g. alcohol was added and this didn't mix properly but collected in a pocket at the top of the candle.

    1. Candle Reviews profile image70
      Candle Reviewsposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks so much Eugene, as it helps me to understand more what could have happened.  Between yours and Joshua's answer, this helps paint a good picture of the why it might have happened.  The science behind it is good to know.  Thanks again.

 
working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)